Below is a four-part video series exploring some of the critical questions we face as society embarks on the transition to life beyond fossil fuels. The themes covered in these videos are much more thoroughly explored in Richard Heinberg’s 2015 book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels.
The Law of Diminishing Returns
Is modern society hitting our defining moment, the point of diminishing returns? We may well be. When previous societies have hit similar limits, they often doubled-down by attempting ever more complex interventions to keep things going, before finally collapsing. Will this be our fate too? And is there an alternative?
The Great Burning
The Great Burning — the combustion of oil, coal, and natural gas — must come to an end during the next few decades. But what will we do then? If the twentieth century was all about increasing our burn rate year after blazing year, the dominant trend of twenty-first century will be a gradual flame-out.
Our Renewable Future
Can we keep growing the economy and avoid diminishing returns by switching energy sources? The transition to renewable solar and wind technology is both necessary and inevitable. But can it solve all our problems?
A Resilient Society
Resilience is a word that’s gaining a lot of currency in recent years, as more and more people realize there are some shocks headed our way. But what would a more resilient society look like?
Special thanks to New Society Publishers for partnering with us on this fantastic series and to Shutterstock.com for granting image rights.